Capitalism is Darwinian, a company-eat-company sort of market. And just like a species competing for food, a business must be able to adapt to survive. Since your staff probably can't grow gills to breathe underwater, many businesses opt to evolve by adopting the Agile framework. Agile businesses have greater flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. Because if there's one thing the world keeps offering up, it's changing circumstances.
Agile sprints are a way you can run your project management to break down complex projects into smaller chunks over defined periods of time. It's good to run with sprints, and not just because walking with sprints is too slow. A well-planned sprint can let your team accomplish specific trackable goals in a matter of weeks that might otherwise get sidelined and lost in the shuffle. But a sprint with no planning is chaos.
That's why a proper Agile framework often includes having a short daily scrum to briefly touch base, as well as a sprint planning template to make sure the team is all on the same page (literally) in terms of how long the sprint will last and what tasks will be accomplished over the course of the sprint. Conveniently, this free sprint planning template will help you do just that.
The Agile movement started in 2001 in software development, and is generally considered preferable to the Slow And Laggy movement.
93% of business units that had fully adopted an Agile model before the Covid pandemic did better than business units that hadn’t, within the same organization. Which is great for them, but has to feel bad for the units whose leads didn't adopt an Agile model. That's basically like the manager saying, "Okay, everyone in marketing, sales, or accounting is going to get new faster computers because the boss thinks they're really helpful... but here in dev we're sticking with these 2002 Gateway PCs, because I love the cow theme."
It's important to hydrate and stretch properly before attempting an Agile sprint. To clarify, proper stretching for an Agile sprint can consist of stretching your arms high in the air once, and then folding them behind your head and leaning back slightly. Or it can consist of nothing. Your choice, really.
Behold, an online collaborative Sheet and Kanban board for use in Agile Project Management. Use the Kanban View in the Tasks worksheet to see rows as cards grouped by Lane. Create new cards by inserting rows. Don't say you can't, because you Kanban.
In addition to the Kanban View in the Tasks worksheet, this template uses worksheet Automations to move a row to "Archive" if checked, and to move a row to/from the Backlog worksheet when you change the value in the "Lane" column.
To set up a new sprint, meet with your team to determine the length of the spring and what tasks to include in your Agile sprint plan. Then enter the Sprint Start Date and number of Days on the top of the sheet, adding each Task as a separate row on the Tasks worksheet.
(Tasks for future sprints can be added to the Backlog worksheet instead, and brought into the current spring by changing Lane value to "To Do".)
Assign a Lane and Type for each Feature task, as well as optionally a Role. Provide a Reason for why you're doing each task. (Current reasons walk you through a demo of how to use this spreadsheet.) Once you've Assigned a user and an optional Priority status to each task, estimate how many Points or Hours you want to allocate to each task.
Update the Lanes for each task during your sprint, to track whether a feature is still on the To Do list, In Progress, or Done. Left-hand view options make sorting by lane easier, with either a Lane-Grouped spreadsheet, or a full Kanban view.
Once your sprint is complete, record the results in your Record Book worksheet. Finished tasks can then be Archived by simply checking the box in the Archive column, which will automagically move them to the Archive worksheet. Unfinished tasks can either be included in your next sprint, or moved to the Backlog worksheet by changing the Lane to Backlog.
Why are you using Agile sprints, to begin with? Maybe the answer is just that someone told you to. But the main reason most people use Agile sprints is to break down project management into smaller achievable sets of goals, often iterating to release minimum viable products and then make improvements in future builds based on customer feedback.
Agile frameworks have many advantages, ranging from improved flexibility and adaptability for the business, to improved speed and quality of deliverables and feedback, to improved buy-in from team members. And all of this is based upon the Agile sprint concept: A minimal amount of carefully selected tasks that the team has agreed are most important, to be done in a defined timespan.
But in order for that to work, you need an Agile sprint plan. You can't just tell your team, "Okay, now we're Agile, so go do useful stuff for two weeks." Agile sprints are all about breaking down your giant project into a series of efficient smaller chunks, marking out the time to complete and review each task, and making sure those tasks will add up to a useful feature at the end of the allotted timespan. This isn't random, but the result of meeting with your team to determine the key deliverables for each sprint, and then making sure everyone is on the same page to get it done.
That's the purpose of an Agile sprint planning template. It literally provides that same page for your team to be on, ensuring that your development team and stakeholders are in sync, improving product visibility and team productivity to allow for higher transparency and a faster, more predictable delivery of product features that have each been focused on.
Agile sprint plans were literally created for software developers, who benefit the most from a continuous cycle of incremental product and feature releases. The Internet moves too fast these days to take a snapshot of this year's audience and spend two years building a product you hope a different audience will like later. Agile development means continuous feature delivery with constant user feedback to ensure you're always focused on the immediate needs of your customers now, not two years ago.
Any Business Without Assembly-Line Factories
Agile development is all about incremental delivery that constantly adapts to dynamic demands from your user base. And while even manufacturing can benefit from Agile frameworks by constantly evolving their offers, any business that doesn't have a large assembly line pays a very low overhead cost for making incremental improvements, while reaping the many benefits that Agile sprint plans have to offer.